Elias Theodorou, Canadian mixed martial artist and UFC middleweight competitor, is all set to be the first ‘Ring Boy’ in MMA history. A role traditionally donned by female models, Theodorou called it a move to bring about gender equality.
He will be the ring boy for Invicta Fighting Championships, an all-female MMA promotion, which will take place in Salt Lake City on March 24, reported BBC. The Invicta FC has been credited with launching the careers of many female UFC stars and has a large audience.
The Canadian who won the Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs Australia back in 2014, is breaking the tradition of having ‘ring girls’ carry the placard, indicating the round in combat sports.
“Mixed martial arts has been at the forefront of equality in many different ways. You can see in regards to women being on top of pay-per-views and selling millions - and also now myself included as the first ring boy,” he was quoted as saying by BBC.
According to MMA Fighting, the 29-year-old made his debut as a ring boy at a small show in Montreal, an event that will be uploaded to his soon-to-be-launched YouTube channel.
He will also be earning money from his sponsors when he appears in the ring, by wearing their names and logos emblazoned on his shorts.
“I’ve talked to (Invicta FC president) Shannon (Knapp) and I will be allowed to put all my sponsors on my shorts and beyond that all the local sponsors that I have like Fuel Foods, and HPN, which I’m going to be doing a campaign for, essentially show and performance, because I’m hoping to fight in April in Atlantic City if all goes well,” Theodorou was quoted as saying by MMA Fighting.
Recently, Formula 1 and darts did away with grid girls and walk-on girls respectively, to mixed responses. While the practise of having female models paraded at sports events has been criticised, many are calling it a choice.